The Law: On Trial for Blasphemy

The Book of Leviticus declares that anyone who commits the sin of blasphemy should be stoned to death. In Britain, where blasphemy was still punishable by death until the 18th century, the last actual prosecution occurred in 1921, when John William Gott was sentenced to nine months at hard labor for writing that Christ looked like a circus clown as he rode into Jerusalem.

Last week, however, blasphemy was once again at issue in the oak-paneled Court No. 8 at London's Old Bailey. The defendants: Gay News (circulation: 20,000), a fortnightly newspaper for homosexuals, and Denis Lemon, 32, editor of the periodical,...

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